"Shazam: Fury of the Gods" is adding a super actor to its superhero story, with Oscar-winner Helen Mirren joining the cast as the villain Hespera.
Per the official description, Hespera is described as a daughter of Atlas. Though she doesn't have a clear DC Comics counterpart, Atlas is the name of several DC Comics characters inspired by the Titan of Ancient Greek mythology, the most famous and enduring version created by the legendary Jack Kirby in 1975.
Mirren is the latest addition to the cast, which includes "West Side Story" breakout Rachel Zegler, who the wrap exclusively reported will appear in an as-yet undisclosed role that will be key to the story.
The sequel to New Line and DC Comics' acclaimed 2019 film "Shazam!," "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" will continue the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word "Shazam!" is struck by the Living Lightning of the gods and transformed into his adult superhero alter ego, Shazam.
Asher Angel returns as Billy, with Zachary Levi once again playing the kid-at-heart superhero alter ego Shazam, bestowed with the powers of six gods: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. While Shazam is a formidable champion, Billy Batson is still just a kid trying to navigate high school while learning how to use these powers.
David F. Sandberg is returning to direct the sequel from a screenplay by Henry Gayden. Peter Safran is producing through The Safran Company. "Shazam" is based on the DC character created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.
"Shazam!" was the No. 1 film worldwide on its opening weekend in 2019, going on earn over $366 million worldwide on a relatively modest budget for a superhero film. The film, which also starred Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong and Djimon Hounsou, earned an 'A' CinemaScore with audiences and a stellar 90% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.
Mirren is an acclaimed actor who has achieved the Triple Crown of Acting in the US and the UK, the only person to do so in both countries. She won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Film Award for her performance in "The Queen," a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for the same role in "The Audience," three BAFTA Television Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards for various roles. Mirren's diverse body of work includes a starring role in the upcoming anthology series "Solos" as well as the film "F9," reprising her role as 'Queenie' in the latest "Fast & Furious" installment.
Mirren is represented by CAA.
Incidentally, in Greek mythology, Hespera is one of the Hesperides, the so-called "daughters of the evening" -- literally, as in the god of night time -- whose charges included, among other things, the golden apples that caused much trouble throughout the myths, including in the lead up to the Trojan War. Atlas was just one of the beings said to be their father; other candidates included Zeus himself and the sea god Phorcys. Read a pretty decent theory about why Hespera might be misdirection here.
"Shazam! Fury of the God" will be released on June 2, 2023.